Every now and again, I get the chance to review a new synth or sample library. This month however, I got the chance to try out something really unusual – the Kaotica Eyeball by Kaotica. According to their website:
“The Eyeball channels sound directly into your microphone. This means that all of the low and high frequency information contained within your voice can now be captured, allowing you to truly hear yourself for the first time. The Eyeball accurately portrays every aspect of your voice, without adding any colouration, producing a vocal track that is clear and defined every time. The design prevents your microphone from capturing ambient noise and room tone, while reducing any potential phase cancellations.
The Eyeball reduces the need for sound re-enforcement in your home studio space, while perfectly complementing any acoustically treated environment. It is practically weightless, small and durable allowing you to take it anywhere, meaning your tracks will always sound like they were recorded in the same place.”
Basically, its a foam sphere which fits over the top of any large diaphragm condenser microphone and captures the full sound of the vocals, preventing ambient noise and room colouring from being captured in your recording too. Its tailored to the home recording market more-so than professional studio recording. An interesting concept and a bold idea – so how does it hold up?
At first glance, it pretty weird looking I must say – it looks like a big black tennis ball that sits on top of your microphone stand. Its well constructed and the pop filter pops right out (pardon the pun). I found it pretty easy to get it over any diaphragm microphones I tried it with.
As you can see from the frequency response graph above, the biggest changes when using the Eyeball are in the very high and very low frequencies. It certainly gives a more noticeable boost to the low-end when in use.
How does the Kaotica Eyeball sound?
My studio is well treated acoustically, so I was interested to see how much of a difference the Eyeball would make. With a well treated room, the Eyeball gave the vocals more “oomph” overall – it did seem to capture more of the sound of the vocals, but when mixing them I found I had to cut out more frequencies than normal, so its a bit of a catch 22. However, I tried a quick vocal recording in my small kitchen and this is where is shined. It stopped a lot of the reflections in the room and gave a more clear sound overall. I tried it in a couple of rooms around the house (none acoustically treated) and it worked well at reducing reflections, removing ambient noise and giving a more “pure” sound overall.
However, the sound of the Eyeball will not be for everyone. It takes a bit of getting used to as it gives you bigger sounding vocals that you’ll have to EQ a little differently to normal. It won’t get rid of all ambiance or reflections, but certainly gives you a good start in a poorly treated room.
Take a look at the video below for an example of another vocalist using it in an outdoor setting:
As you can hear, it removed a lot of the ambient noise (though not all of it) and gave a more clean sound overall.
At the end of the day, nothing can beat a well treated space. However, for those who are looking to record vocals or do voice-overs and have a very low budget for acoustic treatment, its well worth looking into the Eyeball. Its sound isn’t one that everyone would be accustomed to, but it will give you better results than using a non-treated room. It will remove a lot (though not all) of the imperfections in most poorly treated rooms and I could see myself using it if I was recording vocals on the road or outside of my studio.